The Not- Enoughs
Not enough love. Not enough time. Not enough money.
What about love? As a child, how can one measure whether she/he has received the love they need?
I never felt loved, nurtured or cared for emotionally by my mom and dad. It didn’t matter to me as a child that they had been wounded by their own parents, and that they couldn’t give what they never got. They were my parents, and it was their job to give me love.
I didn’t understand the idea that they did the best they could with what they had. All I knew when I was little was that I must not be loveable or they could have found a way to love me.
Living with an alcoholic, workaholic dad and a mother who was constantly in a state of fear, life as the oldest of five was painful, and I had no clue the damaging beliefs I would carry into my adult life wrapped in a beautiful suitcase called “emotional baggage.”
15 months after I was born, my brother was born and so began the journey of learning the idea of limited time, energy and love. If I was only six months old when my mom was pregnant again, I can only imagine the feeling I was catching that her attention was already turning away from me and onto the next one. And then the next one and on and on and on.
I only had my mom’s love and attention for six short months and with a dad who worked long hours and often came home drunk and stumbling us the stairs drunk, I understood that, even then, there would never be enough for me. I would always need to make room for someone else. I was now headed down an empty road and was being set up to crave attention, love and more. More of anything. I was already lost in a world affected by alcoholism.
What does not enough time look like anyway to a kid anyway? Can we go to the park? No. We don’t have time.
Can you take me to the store? No, there’s too much to do.
Can I go out and ride my bike? Not until your chores are done.
I get that. I understand that kids have to be responsible and learn the value of doing their part. What I’m talking about is when dinner was over and I wanted to rush from the table to go outside and catch the end of the sunshine while I peddled around on my two-wheeler and my dad saying, “On no you don’t. You have dish duty.”
“Ah dad, can’t I do it right after I play? It’s going to be dark soon.” I begged.
“Nope. Get it done now.”
So I would get to washing and when everything was finished, the dishes in the drainer and my hands dried, he would inspect every plate, cup, knife and fork looking for a speck of food and when he found it, he would put all the dishes in the sink and make me do them again. And again, until they were spotless.
Was it really that important to him that every dish be perfect? I don’t think so. The lesson I caught from this experience was that fun wasn’t allowed and there would always be something more important to do than play.
Work. Work. Work.
And the money thing…
Until I figured out what money represented for me, I could never understand the push and obsession of needing more. If money = power and I grew up having no control over anything, then it made perfect sense that my need for money was my need for control. If I could get that, then I could create a safe space for myself. And so God got eliminated from my consciousness so I could make room for what I desperately thought I had to have. Money would give me everything I needed until that wasn’t enough anymore and the cycle just got deeper and the wound bigger.
As I spent quiet time with God this morning, I was reminded that there is ALWAYS enough with Him. He always has time for me whenever I need Him. He always has my back when I am scared that I am not enough in a world that screams daily, “Do more, Have more, Be more.”And He loves me more than I could even imagine in my limited human understanding.
I am heading out for the 50th Mary Kay Anniversary seminar this week and will take with me the acknowledgment and reminder that I am ENOUGH for I have been made in the image and likeness of my God. I will celebrate everyone without comparing myself and my journey to theirs. I will dance in joy for having been given an opportunity to be a part of a company that emphasizes and encourages living my life with the priorities of God-first, Family-second and Career- third. And I will be grateful for journey I am on for it has been uniquely designed just for ME.